The buttermilk in this recipe makes everything more flavourful and tender, a great tip for making soft, chewy waffles and juicy, crispy-coated chicken.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tenders
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
In a second bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth, then whisk in the buttermilk and butter until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until the batter comes together; there will be lumps. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 250ºF. Set a baking rack over baking sheet and place on the center rack. Preheat a waffle maker according to manufacturer’s instructions and brush with melted butter.
For each waffle, ladle about 1/3 cup of the batter onto the iron. Cover and cook until golden brown and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes; the waffles will be a little misshapen–not perfectly square, with rounded corners. As you go, transfer the cooked waffles to the baking rack in the oven and hold there while you fry the chicken.
While the waffle batter rests, place the chicken tenders in a resealable plastic bag. Add 1 cup of the buttermilk and the hot sauce, then seal the bag and marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour with the garlic powder, onion powder, chile de arbol, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Transfer half of the flour mixture to a second bowl. In a third bowl, put the remaining 1 cup buttermilk.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 inches of oil in a high-sided skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium heat until it registers 360ºF on a deep-fry thermometer. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, dredge the chicken in the first dish of seasoned flour, then dip in the buttermilk, letting excess drain off, and finally dredge in the second bowl of seasoned flour, tapping off excess. Fry until golden brown on both sides and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate and season with salt.
To serve, put two waffles on each of four plates. Top them with three tenders and drizzle all with hot sauce, if desired, and honey.